Join us live on our Facebook and YouTube channels on Thursday 1st December at 19:30 for the Swim Wales National Club Awards 2022!

The Swim Wales Performance Athlete of the Year Award recognises an athlete aged 18 or over across what has been an unforgettable season for our swimmers, para swimmers and divers.

The Swim Wales Performance team nominated their top three candidates to the Swim Wales Awards Panel, with the winner to be announced on Thursday evening. Each of those disciplines are represented in the final shortlist of three athletes who have starred at the summit of aquatics.

Lily Rice

At the beginning of 2022, Lily Rice had only been back swimming competitively for a year after becoming a world champion in Wheelchair Motocross. Little did she know six months later, she would be on the Birmingham podium.

Lily’s year began with five top 10 finishes at the World Para Swimming, World Para Series events in Italy and Aberdeen to gain selection for the Commonwealth Games. On the biggest stage, and despite struggling with illness, Lily won the Bronze medal in the women’s S8 100 backstroke.

She is now ranked second in Great Britain in 100m Backstroke behind Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Alice Tai, fourth in the world at 50m back and fifth in the world for 100m back.

SMETHWICK, ENGLAND – JULY 31: Bronze medalist, Medi Harris of Team Wales poses with their medal during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 100m Backstroke Final on day three of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2022 on the Smethwick, England. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The second nominee is Medi Harris, who has enjoyed a stunning breakout year. Medi became a British champion for the first time in Women’s 100m Backstroke at the 2022 British Championships, and also won silver in the 50m Backstroke.

She transferred her domestic success onto the international stage when she was selected to represent Great Britain at the FINA World Aquatic Championships, where she qualified for the World Championships Final in the 100m Backstroke and 50m Backstroke, finishing seventh in both.

She swapped her GB suit for Welsh colours for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where she announced herself to the aquatic world with a stunning performance to win bronze in the 100m backstroke. She also finished fourth in the 50m backstroke & mixed 4x100m freestyle relay, and fifth in the mixed 4x100m Medley relay.

Her incredible year didn’t end there though. After the Games, she was selected to represent Great Britain at the LEN European Championships where she won an incredible four medals: 100m Backstroke (silver), 4x100m Freestyle Relay (gold), 4x200m Freestyle relay (silver), 4x100m Mixed Medley relay (bronze). Medi also set new Swim Wales Senior Long Course records in 100m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke, 4x100m mixed freestyle relay and 4x100m mixed medley relay in 2022.

Aidan Heslop

Our final nominee has spent 2022 globetrotting, showcasing his diving talent. Aidan Heslop qualified for his second Commonwealth Games by winning the 10m mixed synchro event alongside Ruby Thorne at the 2022 UK Home Nations Invitational and also qualified individually in winning the British Junior Elite Championships in the 10m Platform event.

At the Commonwealth Games he finished 8th in the final of both the individual men’s 10m platform and the 10m mixed synchro alongside Ruby Thorne, besting his points total from Gold Coast. Aidan finished his season by finishing 2nd overall in the Red Bull World Cliff Diving Series, in his debut full season on tour.